The Thai royal palace has been struck by another wave of intrigue after King Maha Vajiralongkorn fired four more officials, including two bedroom guards for “extremely evil conduct” and “adultery.”
The sacking of the aides, along with two further palace guards for being “lax,” is the third shake-up at the secretive royal court in under two weeks, after the monarch first shocked his Southeast Asian kingdom by expelling his consort and then ousting six other officials for severe disciplinary misconduct.
Wednesday’s royal announcement accused the bedroom guards of violating the code of conduct for courtiers and the two military officers of “behaving unbecomingly of their ranks and titles,” which they were promptly stripped off.
No further details have been released about the alleged latest misdemeanours or about the misconduct of the six officials last week who were charged with harming the royal service.
The purge comes in the wake of the sudden dismissal of Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, 34, who had been appointed to the noble rank royal consort just three months earlier. She was accused of “disloyalty to the king," as well as "acting against the appointment of the Queen (Suthida)… for her own ambitions."
Ms Sineenat’s whereabouts since her expulsion are not known.
The mysterious developments have set tongues quietly wagging in Bangkok, although few would dare to speak openly. The Thai monarchy is deified and strict lese majeste laws with jail terms of three to 15 years prevent any public discussion about them.
Since ascending the throne after the death of his revered father in 2016, King Vajiralongkorn, is making his name as an assertive constitutional monarch, with a tighter grip on the royal affairs and finances and transferring two military units from the army to his personal control.
Born in 1952, as the first and only son of the late and popular King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit, he was given a name that means “adorned with jewels or thunderbolts.”
As a teenager he was educated at private schools in Sussex and Somerset before heading to Australia to train at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in Canberra, and he later became an officer in the Thai armed forces.
The king has seven children aged between 14 and 40 by his three former wives, and he suddenly married the current queen, Suthida Tidjai, a former flight attendant, shortly before his coronation in May.
He appointed Ms Sineenat, on his 67th birthday in July, reviving a Thai royal tradition that had not been used since the reign of King Rama VI, who ruled until 1925.
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